How Long Does it Take a Hypertrophic Scar to Heal?

How Long Does it Take a Hypertrophic Scar to Heal?

There are several different types of scars that result from an injury and among them is the hypertrophic scar.

The hypertrophic scar varies somewhat from other scars in that its appearance tends to be red and elevated. They can also be itchy or even painful. However, unlike keloid scars, hypertrophic scars stay within the boundaries of the initial area of injury.

Hypertrophic scars tend to start developing within the weeks following an injury, and they may continue to redden and thicken for months. Their raised appearance can improve with consistent scar massage over the course of several months. However, depending on the severity of the scar and the nature of its origin, it can take a year or even longer for the scar to begin to flatten and fade. [Read more…]

Do Scars Spread?

Do Scars Spread?

The answer is yes and no. Typical scars, like acne scars, surgery scars or c-section scars do not spread. Of course, if you gain weight, then it is merely the skin stretching rather than the scar actually spreading.

However, there is one type of scar that will spread beyond the bounds of the wound, and that is a keloid scar.

Keloid Scars

In the simplest of terms, keloid scars are scars that become enlarged because your body is producing too much collagen—and therefore, too much tissue—at the site of the wound. Typically, keloid scars become raised in a dome-shaped fashion and begin to expand beyond the original location of the wound. Keloid scars are usually pink, shiny, and tender to the touch.

Read: Do Genes Determine Keloid Scars?

Needless to say, developing keloid scars can be bizarre and frightening for those who have never experienced keloids before. The good news is that keloid scars are no more dangerous than other types of scar tissue. Some patients complain about them being more painful, but usually, they are just itchier as they heal. The bad news is that they are often more unsightly than other scars, leading patients to seek surgical methods or other solutions to try to shrink them or have them removed.

Read: Who is at Risk for Developing Keloid Scars?

The Difference Between Scar Types

Though many people aren’t familiar with the lingo, there are several different types of scars out there. The first and most common type, of course, is a simple flat scar. If you cut your skin, you will normally heal quickly, with nothing but a pale white line on your skin to mark the spot where you had your wound. These scars can’t spread at all and don’t even become raised above the skin. In other words, they are the least invasive of all scars.

The second type of scar is called a hypertrophic scar. The word hypertrophic means “enlarged” or “excessive growth,” but unlike keloid scars, hypertrophic scars don’t spread beyond the wound. Instead, these scars may thicken and appear to be raised above the skin. Hypertrophic scars are typically redder and more visually obvious than flat scars.

There are other types of scars—including contracture scars, which actually tighten your skin, usually after a burn, and pitted scars, which can result from picking or itching at acne or chicken pox. Of all of the types of scars, keloid scars are unique in their ability to spread beyond the area of the original wound.

Have a question about your scar? Post a comment and we’ll be happy to answer.

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Scar Treatment for Cystic Acne

Scar Treatment for Cystic Acne

Contrary to popular belief, not all acne scars are caused by picking at pimples. Some acne, such as cystic acne, is prone to scarring even if you don’t touch it at all. These painful lesions trap inflammation and do not easily connect with the skin’s surface. Cystic acne is inflammatory acne which triggers a white blood cell response as the skin tries to heal itself, resulting in scars even if you keep your hands off.

Read: Different types of acne scars

So if you do get one of these pimples, how can you minimize potential scarring? The first step is to get the acne under control in the first place. For ongoing cystic acne, a prescription might be the most effective way to control or eliminate it, so don’t hesitate to see a doctor. Abrasive over the counter acne products can be irritating to your skin and may contain questionable chemicals, so talk to your doctor about which products are truly safe and effective. If you can’t see a dermatologist for any reason, make sure to keep the skin clean to avoid infection, but steer clear of abrasive or harsh products.

Once you get rid of cystic acne, how can you get rid of the mark left behind? There are several options for fading scars caused by cystic acne. For the most severe acne, a visit to a dermatologist might be in order for a chemical peel, facial scar revision, or other powerful treatments.

There are also several natural remedies that can help fade these difficult scars. Aloe vera has been shown to help speed healing and keep the scar tissue moisturized. Vitamins A and C are both effective scar healers, and can be applied to the skin or consumed in the form of foods or beverages that contain them in large amounts. Licorice is a natural and safe ingredient known to help fade scars.

Silicone is another very effective scar healer. Numerous studies have shown that it softens scars when used regularly, even hypertrophic or older scars. However, the sooner treatment is started, the better the results. A product that contains silicone along with the above mentioned natural ingredients packs a powerful punch when it comes to getting rid of cystic acne scars.

Hydroquinone is one ingredient found in many scar treatment products that you should steer clear of. Hydroquinone has been shown to be potentially dangerous, irritate the skin of some patients, cause common allergic reactions, and even cause permanent discoloration of the skin.

Keep in mind that while you are treating your acne scars, you should keep them out of the sun. Your face is frequently exposed to sunlight throughout the day, so if the scars are on your face, be sure to apply sunscreen every time you go outside, even if you are going out for only a few minutes. Sunlight can, at best, delay scar healing, and at worst, it can exacerbate scars and permanently darken them.

Acne is never fun, and when it is painful and causes scarring, it is even worse. However, you don’t have to live with unsightly acne scars. You can take a proactive stand against them and within just a few months dramatically improve the appearance of your skin.

Do you have a question about your scar? Leave us a comment and we’ll be happy to answer.

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What Are Hypertrophic Scars?

What Are Hypertrophic Scars?

A hypertrophic scar is a condition on the skin that is marked by excess scar tissue at the site of skin injury. It can affect any individual of any ethnic origin; however, it is more common in people with darker skin tones, such as that of African American, Hispanics, or Asians.

Symptoms of a Hypertrophic Scar
Hypertrophic scars are thick, raised, and typically dark in color, usually red or brown. They can occur after any form of skin injury, on any part of the body. These scars are different from Keloid scars in that they do not keep growing and they are limited to the site of the skin injury or surgery. As they develop, they will be thicker and darker than the area of skin they surround. They can arise on the ear lobes, facial areas, chest, shoulders, on the back, or any other part of the body.

Hypertrophic scars can arise at any time. They can even appear after a wound has healed. They can become painful and itchy. They can also become very firm and hard to the touch, and many sufferers find these scars to be especially sensitive to temperature or texture changes. Clothing that creates friction can also result in pain and discomfort.

Hypertrophic Scar Causes
When an injury occurs on the body, our cells produce fibrous connective tissues, known as Collagen, which is deposited in the different layers of the skin. In many cases, too much collagen accumulates in response to the injury which leads to hypertrophic scarring.

What Things Trigger Hypertrophic Scars to Form?
Any skin injury can act as a trigger. The most common causes are surgery, traumatic skin injury (accidents), body piercings, and acne.

Diagnosis of Hypertrophic Scars
The diagnosis is usually made by a simple skin examination by a medical professional. If there is any doubt about the diagnosis, a biopsy of the skin may be recommended to rule out something more serious such as a skin cancer.

Treatment of Hypertrophic Scars
Hypertrophic Scars are typically benign and not dangerous. Treatment usually includes some combination of pressure therapy, topical silicone therapy (gel and/or sheeting), and steroid injections. Sometimes, surgical scar revision may be recommended if these treatments are not successful.

Do you have a hypertrophic scar?

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photo credit: nollpunkt via photopin cc

How Do I Get Rid of Vaccination Scars?

How Do I Get Rid of Vaccination Scars?

As a result of the smallpox and tuberculosis vaccines, people often have scars where the vaccine was administered. Both vaccines are given by breaking the skin multiple times in a small area – typically on the upper arm—and the scab that results gives way to a small pitted or raised area. People who are vaccinated for smallpox or tuberculosis usually have one of three types of scarring: a low pitted area, a keloid, or a hypertrophic scar. Though treatment is similar for each reaction, there are some important differences.

If you have a pitted scar on your body, you will want to use a cream that contains Vitamin C, which will improve your skin’s elasticity and encourages growth of healthy collagen during scar healing. Products with aloe, licorice extract and essential fatty acids (EFAs) will even out skin tone and decrease any inflammation that you may have weeks after the vaccination.

Keloid scars are raised, thick scars that are often larger than the vaccination site itself. Keloids are caused by an overproduction of collagen in the skin, and they can continue to grow years after the vaccination. Though it is important to let the site heal, wrapping the area tightly with silicone sheeting can decrease the size keloid. Aloe, licorice extract and EFAs will also help to change the color of the scar closer to the color of your skin.

The final type of scar that could occur from smallpox or tuberculosis vaccines is the hypertrophic scar. Like keloids, hypertrophic scars are raised and caused by too much collagen growth, though hypertrophic scars are typically smaller and will not continue to grow after they have formed. Similar treatment is recommended, but you should consider focusing on ointments and gels with Vitamin C, aloe, and silicone. Silicone sheeting may be helpful; however, if your scar is small, the presence of silicone in a cream may be just as worthwhile.

Ultimately, you should not be ashamed of your vaccination scar, but you can use these easy treatments to improve the appearance of your scars. However, make sure that the skin around the vaccination site has healed before treating the scar to ensure that your skin is not infected after the vaccination.

Do you have a vaccination scar?

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